GRIEVANCE POLICY. Human Resources Service

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1 GRIEVANCE POLICY Human Resources Service NB. This policy is available on the University of Cumbria website and it should be noted that any printed copies are uncontrolled and cannot be guaranteed to constitute the current version of the policy. POLICY SCHEDULE Policy title Grievance Policy Policy owner Human Resources Service Policy lead contact Human Resources Service Approving body Employment Policy Committee Date of approval EPC June 2013 Date of implementation 01/08/2013 Version no. V Related Guidelines, Procedures, Codes of Practice etc. ACAS Code of Practice on Grievance Procedures The Equality Act 2010 Review interval 2013/ V

2 A. POLICY 1. Contents A. POLICY Contents Introduction Aims and Objectives Definitions/Authorities The Policy Principles Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (with particular reference to disability reasonable adjustments) and Equality Impact Assessment Statements Records Management Statement Risk Management Statement Roles and Responsibilities Contact Details... 7 B. PROCEDURAL GUIDELINES The Grievance The Formal Procedure The Appeal Appendix One Introduction 2.1 The University of Cumbria recognises formal grievance procedures are necessary for the effective operation of the University by encouraging all employees to raise problems which cannot be resolved informally. The University also recognises that formal grievance procedures are a necessary part of ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and consistently. 2.2 A grievance is a problem or concern somebody may have about any act or omission by the University to do with their work, working conditions or relationships with colleagues and specifically the circumstances listed in Appendix 1. The policy shall apply to all grievances (including collective grievances if appropriate to the circumstances, although amendments to the procedure may be made to accommodate collective grievances.) (Note: there are separate procedures in relation to job evaluation and grading of roles). 2.3 The formal procedure should only be invoked following all attempts to resolve the grievance informally or through mediation, unless not reasonably feasible. 2.4 The University and the recognised unions strongly encourage employees with a grievance to approach their immediate line manager (unless paragraph 6.6 applies) informally in the first instance. Where employees are unable to resolve the grievance informally through regular communication with their line manager, then the procedure outlined below provides a formal process for addressing the issue. Facilitated (informal) meetings and/or mediation where deemed appropriate, may also be considered as a means of resolving issues rather than use of the formal procedure. 2 V

3 2.5 In any alleged complaints of bullying, harassment, violence or discrimination, the person receiving the allegation should contact their assigned member of the Human Resources Service (see before any action is taken. In cases where an employee makes a number of allegations but refuses to engage in an investigation process, the University reserves the right to conduct an investigation based on the information received. 2.6 The procedure may also be used to manage formal complaints, lodged by students against employees, which are not covered by the Student Complaints Procedure. 2.7 This Grievance Procedure meets the requirements of current employment law. It was developed using the ACAS Code of Practice on Grievance Procedures as a guide. 2.8 The University regards the lodging of a grievance as a serious matter. If an employee makes a frivolous, malicious or vexatious grievance claim that matter may be regarded as serious misconduct 3. Aims and Objectives 3.1 The aims of this policy and procedure are to: to resolve promptly and fairly employee complaints that cannot be resolved in the course of day to day relationships to resolve promptly and fairly formal student complaints relating to employee conduct issues that cannot be resolved through the Student Complaints Procedure to provide points of contact and timescales to resolve issues of concern to inform employees and managers of the procedures which will apply to hear formal grievances. 3.2 The policy and procedure also provide: 4. Scope Managers with advice and support on handling grievance issues Employees with support and information about the University s approach to handling grievance issues in the work place. 4.1 This policy and procedure applies to all permanent and temporary employees at the University of Cumbria, who work under a contract of employment, with the exception of holders of senior posts 1 for whom separate procedures apply. 1 Holders of senior posts are those posts referred to in the Memorandum and Articles of Association as Vice-Chancellor, and the holders of such other senior posts of the University as the Board of Directors shall from time to time determine 3 V

4 5. Definitions/Authorities 5.1 Under this policy, the following authorities apply: Policy / Process Delegated Powers Delegated Right of Appeal Grievance Policy Line manager (or next level of manager if the grievance involves the line manager) unless where a line manager does not have the authority to resolve a grievance, then another manager with the appropriate level of authority will be identified by the Human Resources Service to hear the grievance As far as is reasonably practicable, by a more senior person than the person who conducted the first meeting, and who has not previously had a material involvement in the matter 6. The Policy Principles 6.1 Employees should seek to resolve any concerns they may have informally with their line manager in the first instance (unless paragraph 6.6 applies) and this is recommended. Wherever possible, matters will be dealt with and resolved informally. If deemed appropriate or at the request of either party (and in agreement with both parties) a mediator or facilitator will be requested to engage with both parties to seek to support the resolution of the matter. This third party support may be an internal University colleague, independent of the matter to be resolved who is suitably trained in mediation techniques, or if deemed necessary given the circumstances of the issues, an external suitably trained mediator will be appointed. 6.2 If the matter remains unresolved, however, the formal procedure set out here should be followed. 6.3 At each level at which a grievance is heard the matter must be dealt with without unreasonable delay and a reply given to the employee as soon as practicable. Normally, formal grievances will be heard and investigated (where appropriate) within 4 weeks of the grievance being raised. However, it is recognised that in exceptional cases / complex grievances, it may not be possible to adhere to this limit. 6.4 The timing and location of meetings must be reasonable and in all circumstances meetings and investigations will be conducted with impartiality and fairness. The employee must take all reasonable steps to attend any meeting. 6.5 Where it is not practicable to adhere to the time limits, stated, all relevant parties will normally be informed including the reason why. The ACAS Code states that where an employee is persistently unable or unwilling to attend a Grievance meeting without good cause the employer should make a decision on the evidence available. The University defines persistently as an employee failing to attend two scheduled times for the same meeting (namely being unable or failing to attend a reasonably re-arranged meeting at the set date and time having previously agreed to attend or having previously failed to inform the University of an inability to attend the date or time suggested and arranged). 4 V

5 6.6 Where a grievance involves the employee s immediate line manager, then the procedure should be invoked at the next level of management. 6.7 Where a line manager does not have the authority to resolve a grievance, another manager with the appropriate level of authority will be identified by the Human Resources Service to hear the grievance. 6.8 The employee will have the right to be accompanied by a companion at any grievance meetings. The chosen companion may be a fellow worker, a trade union representative or an official employed by a trade union. A trade union representative who is not an employed official must have been certified by their union as being competent to accompany a worker. 6.9 Where appropriate, a meeting may be adjourned to allow further investigation into matters or issues raised to take place. On the advice of the Human Resources Service, an Investigating Officer may be appointed The University reserves the right, where deemed appropriate, to appoint a panel to hear a grievance In cases of serious malpractice consideration should be given (and advice sought) as to whether the matter also needs to be referred to the relevant professional body Employees subject to investigation as part of the grievance process whether the allegations are founded or not, will be offered appropriate support (emotional and professional), both during and following an investigation, to help their reintegration to work. This may take the form of: Occupational Health support Counselling Human Resources Service support A reintegration plan agreed with the line manager (or other manager as appropriate) with support from the Human Resources Service. This may include the appointment of a mentor to further support the employee during the reintegration process At any point during the formal procedure an employee may withdraw their grievance by writing to their manager. 7. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (with particular reference to disability reasonable adjustments) and Equality Impact Assessment Statements 7.1 The Equality Act 2010 harmonises, and in some cases, extends discrimination law covering the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex and sexual orientation. It addresses the impact of recent case law and the ban of disabled by association is extended to all protected characteristics. The University has developed a Single Equality Scheme to implement the Equality Act within the University practices and procedures. 7.2 Within the Equality Act It remains permissible to treat a disabled person more favourably than a non-disabled person. It remains lawful to make reasonable adjustments in relation to employment, education and services to ensure that there is true equality of opportunity for disabled people, namely: 5 V

6 Where a manager believes that an employee may be disabled within the meaning of the Act or may nonetheless need additional support, advice must be sought from the Human Resources Service before any action is taken. 7.3 This Equality Scheme and its implementation will be monitored in line with relevant legislation for its impact on different equality groups. This process will provide a check on whether there are any differences and allow the University to assess whether these differences have an adverse impact on any particular group such that appropriate action is taken. 7.4 These are important issues and further information should be sought from the University s LISS Manager (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Policy) as required. 8. Records Management Statement 8.1 The records associated with this policy are controlled by the Human Resources Service and will be created, stored and disposed of in line with the University s Records Management guidelines and procedures. 8.2 The University is committed to complying with the requirements of Data Protection legislation and regulations and any personal data created as part of this policy will be processed in accordance with the University s Data Protection Act procedures. This includes ensuring that data is held securely, is not disclosed unlawfully and is destroyed when no longer needed. 8.3 The University also aims to ensure that users of this policy are aware of Data Protection, Freedom of Information and Records Management issues associated with this policy. 9. Risk Management Statement 9.1 Failure to comply with this policy could lead to breaches in employment legislation and may give rise to claims against the University. 10. Roles and Responsibilities 10.1 In order to support the implementation of this policy, it is the responsibility of: Managers a) to establish if informal means or mediation (where appropriate) can resolve the issue first b) to comply with the grievance policy and procedure c) to ensure employees understand the policy and procedure d) to ensure the fair and consistent application of the policy and procedure Employees a) to be aware of the grievance policy and procedure b) to aim to settle any concerns informally with their Line Manager where possible in the first instance. 6 V

7 Human Resources Service 11. Contact Details a) to ensure that the grievance policy and procedure is readily available and understood b) to provide training, support (including administrative support) and guidance to managers on its application c) to review and monitor the operation and effectiveness of the policy and procedure d) to ensure compliance with legal obligations and the ACAS Code of Practice For procedures to be followed in relation to this policy please consult the Procedural Guidelines in the next section. To access related HR policies and procedures, please look at the HR Policies Handbook on the University website. If you require further guidance or information or require this document in another format (eg CD, audio cassette, Braille or large type), please contact the relevant member of the Human Resources Service (see UNIVERSITY OF CUMBRIA POLICY DOCUMENT CONTROL SCHEDULE All University of Cumbria Policies must include a completed Policy Document Control Schedule consisting of the Policy Schedule (see front cover) and Review Schedule and (see below) which should be completed as appropriate. REVIEW SCHEDULE Version no. Review interval Reviewed by Approved by Date of Approval V /2009 HR EPC/JNCC 24 June 2007 V /2014 Denise Mace EPC/JNCC 24 February /03/11 V03-01/12/ /2015 Gill Wilson EPC/JNCC 30 November 2011 V /2014 Nicky Allen EPC/JNCC 21 June V

8 B. PROCEDURAL GUIDELINES The normal expectation is that the following procedural guidelines will apply. However, on occasions, and for exceptional / other good reasons, there may be the need to vary the procedures to suit individual cases / circumstances, and accordingly the University reserves the right to amend the procedures. The University will consult with the recognised union(s) regarding any proposal to vary the procedure. 1. The Grievance 1.1 Informal procedure and mediation guidance The University will seek to resolve matters informally, wherever possible for example; through a facilitated meeting of parties. The University is committed to ensuring that differences and difficulties can be resolved amicably through open communication. This is more likely to produce effective solutions, minimise conflict and allow employees to maintain positive working relationships. Employees who wish to try to resolve their grievance informally should raise it with HR or their line manager. Where a grievance is raised in writing, the University will explore with the employee informal ways of resolving the grievance, where appropriate, before instigating the formal procedure Before an employee raises a grievance formally there are a number of steps they should try: If at all possible, they should discuss the grievance informally with the individual(s) concerned. Sometimes they will be not be aware that their behaviour or actions are causing a problem. Often, issues can be resolved at this point through discussion and clarification. The employee should seek advice from their line manager, the Human Resources Service or trade union representative. 1.2 Mediation Mediation is undertaken without any admission of wrongdoing by any party, and without preventing any opportunity to pursue formal action As part of the informal steps towards resolving any issues the employee may be experiencing, he/she may wish to consider mediation. This is a process by which an impartial person helps others to resolve their difficulties. It is voluntary and it can help to resolve problems. Mediation will seek to: resolve conflict treat people fairly create realistic, workable agreements change behaviour that is creating difficulty. Mediation will provide opportunities to: speak and listen exchange feelings and ideas negotiate. 8 V

9 1.2.3 If the employee decides he/she would like to use mediation he/she should discuss the matter with his/her assigned member of the Human Resources Service (see before any action is taken. Mediation can only proceed with the agreement of all the parties involved in the grievance, including their agreement on the choice of mediator. 2. The Formal Procedure 2.1 Upon receipt of a formal grievance the line manager should contact their assigned member of the Human Resources Service (see before any action is taken. The HR Service will provide further guidance and support and will appoint a Hearing Officer. This may be the line manager unless paragraphs 6.6 or 6.7 of the policy apply. 2.2 The Hearing Officer must invite the employee to a meeting to discuss the grievance. This will normally be in a period of 14 days from receipt of the grievance. The employee shall be advised of the following: (a) (b) (c) the date, time and venue of the meeting; the entitlement to be represented or accompanied by another of the University s employees or a trade union official; the right to provide details of witnesses considered to be relevant. 2.3 In cases where an employee has alleged some form of bullying, harassment, violence or discrimination, the person receiving the allegation should contact the Human Resources Service for advice. Where appropriate, the Hearing Officer may be required to invite the employee to a meeting to discuss the grievance even if the employee has not made a written statement of grievance. 2.4 As per the policy, where appropriate, a meeting may be adjourned to allow further investigation into matters or issues raised to take place or to invite others whose attendance is deemed relevant / helpful. Where possible the investigation will take place within 14 calendar days to allow the original meeting to reconvene. 2.5 If either the employee or the Hearing Officer wishes to refer to any documents or call any witnesses during the meeting, copies of the documents and details of the witnesses should be made available to the Hearing Officer or the employee, as appropriate, in advance of the meeting and normally at least three days before the meeting. 2.6 The meeting must be conducted in a manner that enables the employee and any other appropriate party to explain their cases. 2.7 The decision of the Hearing Officer may be announced at or soon after the conclusion of the meeting. The decision and the employee s right to appeal against that decision will be communicated in writing as soon as practicable (normally within 7 calendar days). A grievance can, on occasion, be upheld in part. Apart from giving a full written explanation of the reasons for the outcome, the manager hearing the grievance or appeal may also make recommendations regarding the action to be taken and by whom and the timescales if it is upheld in full or part. Any recommendations from the grievance will be monitored to ensure the recommendations are concluded. 9 V

10 3. The Appeal 3.1 An employee has the right to appeal against the outcome of the grievance meeting. Written notice of the appeal, setting out the grounds for the appeal, must be given to the Director of Human Resources Service normally within 7 calendar days of the date upon which the written notification was sent to the employee. You can appeal against the outcome of your grievance on the following grounds: Procedural irregularity (eg discrimination) New evidence not previously available for good reason. 3.2 As far as is reasonably practicable, the appeal must be conducted by a more senior person than the person who conducted the first meeting, and who has not previously had a material involvement in the matter. The Human Resources Service will advise as appropriate. 3.3 The appeal will be heard as soon as possible and the employee shall be entitled to 7 calendar days notice of the date, time and venue of the appeal, unless an earlier date has been mutually agreed. 3.4 The appeal will normally take the form of a review of the original investigation. 3.5 The decision of the person conducting the appeal may be announced at or soon after the conclusion of the appeal. The decision will be communicated to the employee in writing as soon as practicable (normally within 7 calendar days). 3.6 The decision of the person conducting the appeal shall be final. 10 V

11 Appendix One THE FOLLOWING ARE EXAMPLES OF SITUATIONS WHICH WILL NORMALLY BE DEALT WITH UNDER THE GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE. IT IS NOT AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST a) alleged equality discrimination as defined within the Equality Act 2010 b) alleged detriment owing to Trade union membership, activities and Union recognition rights; c) cases involving a dispute relating to equality of pay as between gender; d) an allegedly unlawful deduction from an employee s wages or the receipt, by the University, of an unlawful payment from the employee; e) alleged detriment owing to the employee carrying out activities to promote health and safety or representing workers on a health and safety committee, or taking part in the election of or running of a safety committee; f) alleged detriment in relation to a practice of the University contrary to the Working Time Regulations 1998; g) alleged detriment in relation to an employee exercising his or her duties as a Trustee of an occupational pension scheme; h) alleged detriment as a result of holding office as an elected Trade union representative or running as a candidate for such an office; i) alleged detriment on the grounds that a person has exercised the right to time off with remuneration for study or training; j) alleged detriment on the grounds that a worker has made a protected disclosure; k) alleged detriment on the grounds that a worker has taken leave for a family or domestic reason; l) alleged detriment on the grounds that an employee, or someone acting on their behalf, has sought to enforce or secure the benefit of a right under the Tax Credits Act 2002; m) circumstances that could give rise to what is referred to as a complaint of constructive unfair dismissal; n) a dispute surrounding an employee s right to a redundancy payment (and/or the amount); o) alleged detriment in relation to an employee s rights in relation to the National Minimum Wage; p) a complaint relating to an employee s rights under the Working Time Regulations 1998; q) alleged detriment on a ground that an employee has acted, or proposed to act as an information and consultation representative or has sought to enforce a right under the Transnational Information and Consultation etc Regulations 1999; r) alleged discrimination for dignity at work; s) In case of serious malpractice consideration should be given (and advice sought) as to whether the matter also needs to be referred to the relevant professional body. 11 V

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